Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124
04/07/2005 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 176-ELIMINATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME 9:15:54 AM CO-CHAIR OLSON announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 176, "An Act exempting the state and its political subdivisions from daylight saving time." 9:16:24 AM REPRESENTATIVE SALMON, sponsor of HB 176, explained that HB 176 would eliminate daylight saving time, and therefore the passage of this legislation would result in Alaska staying on Alaska Standard time. He opined that the recent time change impacted many. Representative Salmon highlighted that in Alaska the winter days are short and the summer days are long. He acknowledged the arguments regarding the notion that [daylight saving time] saves energy and not having daylight saving time would impact the time with which Alaskans can do business with the Lower 48. In regard to the latter contention, Representative Salmon pointed out that today there are multiple modes of communication that accommodate whatever time zone in which one is located. 9:18:53 AM MOIRA SMITH, Staff to Representative Woodie Salmon, Alaska State Legislature, stated that in Alaska daylight saving time is unnecessary. Originally daylight saving time was done on a national level primarily to save energy and it works in the Lower 48. However, it doesn't work so well in Alaska because the vast geographic expanse of the state results in the majority of the state being located in areas where the hour saved doesn't provide daylight and thus it doesn't save energy. Furthermore, there are health and safety concerns with the change in time such as the disruption of the circadian clock, which is most prominent in children and teenagers. Moreover, the disruption of business isn't a concern because of the multiple modes of communication available beyond the telephone. 9:21:01 AM PAULA RAK provided testimony in opposition to HB 176. She indicated that it would be inconvenient for Alaska's time to be two hours different from Seattle for half of the year. Federal statute 15 U.S.C. 260 was established "with regard for the convenience of commerce and the existing junction points and division points of common carriers engaged in interstate commerce." She informed the committee that the convenience of commerce has been defined to include consideration of all impacts upon a community, including impacts on individuals, families, businesses, and other organizations. Because of Alaska's location in the Pacific Northeast, commerce has been historically tied to Seattle, which observes Pacific time. The proposed change would result in Alaska being one hour different from Seattle time in the winter and two hours different in the summer. She reminded the committee that in 1983 elected officials wanted to unify Alaska by combining time zones. However, the proposal to change most of Alaska to Alaska Standard time elicited a loud outcry from Southeast Alaska. She opined that most residents didn't want to change, but rather wanted to stay on Pacific Standard time. This legislation would mean that Southeast Alaska would be an additional hour different from the preferred time zone for part of the year. Ms. Rak highlighted that when Alaska switched to one time zone those the farthest east and west of Alaska were burdened the most in that the time zone wasn't natural for the rhythms of the sun in either area. Therefore, [Alaska Standard time] was touted as a compromise. Ms. Rak suggested that either the state should maintain the current situation or return to the situation prior to 1983. As a business owner, Ms. Rak said she finds it very inconvenient to be four hours different than the East Coast. In fact, this change would result in Alaska being five hours different than the East Coast for part of the year. She said that she would miss the hour of daylight in the spring and fall when the days are shorter. Ms. Rak concluded by relating that if northern residents are unhappy with their time zone, then they should change their situation and leave Southeast Alaska alone. 9:25:20 AM REPRESENTATIVE KOTT recalled that when this issue has been brought up in the past, the impact to business has been the major issue. However, the sponsor has opined that the impact on businesses shouldn't be as great due to the multiple modes of communication. He inquired as to how this proposal would impact Ms. Rak, as a business person. MS. RAK said that even with faxes and Internet access, there is still the need to talk with folks on the telephone. Having only three hours of business hours in common with the East Coast is inconvenient. The extra hour of daylight in the early morning doesn't do much good, she opined. 9:27:15 AM LYNN WILLIS stated his support for HB 176. He began by thanking the sponsors of this legislation. For the third time in six years, such legislation has been introduced and will hopefully receive the full hearing and public debate that it deserves. He reviewed the legislation introduced in prior years. Mr. Willis specified that HB 176 should be law for the following reasons. First, a majority of Alaskans support repeal of daylight saving time. According to a statewide public opinion poll of 505 Alaskans conducted in April 2004 by Dittman Research, 58 percent of Alaskans favor repeal of daylight saving time. Second, there is no need to change clocks because Alaska is the Land of the Midnight Sun. Most of the state is located at high northern latitudes where extremes in day length are part of life. This time of year Southcentral Alaska is gaining an hour of natural daylight about every 10 days. Third, most Alaskans already use daylight saving time year round. With the exception of the far Aleutian Islands, since 1983 all of Alaska lying west of the Yukon territory has been on permanent daylight saving time. Mr. Willis pointed out that from April to October, use of daylight saving time adds an additional hour between the difference in the position of the sun in the sky and the time of the clock. Fourth, no energy is being saved by the use of daylight saving time. Fifth, Alaska should be able to be more than one hour different than Seattle or four hours different than New York for six months of the year. He indicated that computers and other communication technology advances allow communication and most commercial transactions regardless of time or location. Furthermore, Mr. Willis alluded to the notion that Alaska is part of the global economy. He highlighted that the two of the largest nations in Asia, Japan and China, don't practice daylight saving time. Perhaps Alaska could exploit its time difference to provide services not available in other time zones, he opined. In conclusion, Mr. Willis urged support for HB 176. 9:31:35 AM CO-CHAIR OLSON, upon determining no one else wished to testify, closed public testimony. 9:32:34 AM REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to report HB 176 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. 9:32:46 AM CO-CHAIR OLSON objected and noted that as a small businessman the difference in time [without daylight saving time] was noticeable and had an impact. 9:33:07 AM A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Salmon, Kott, LeDoux, and Cissna voted in favor of reporting HB 176 out of committee. Representative Olson voted against it. Therefore, HB 176 was reported out of the House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee by a vote of 4-1.